The partial revival of the wheat crop, which was badly damaged about three weeks ago due to inclement weather, has revived the hopes of some farmers and agriculture officers of a good crop, but the harvesting season may be delayed due to the prolonged winter season.
"The damaged wheat crop has recovered considerably and now we expect a bumper crop like that of last year. The prolonged winter, accompanied by rain, has provided a favourable environment to the wheat crop and we expect that it will cross the average yield of the last year," said Beant Singh, chief agriculture officer, Muktsar.
The average yield of wheat in the district last year was about 50 quintals per hectare. "Now, I expect that we will be able to have more yield than that last year because of the low temperature which helps better grain formation and helps in increased yield. But, on the other hand, we expect a 10-day delay in the harvesting season. Earlier, the harvesting started even before Baisakhi (April 13), but this year, it is expected to be delayed for about 10 days," added Beant Singh.
But, many farmers, whose wheat crop had been flattened by the winds, believe that there might be a decrease of about 4 quintals per hectare in the yield. It may also add to harvesting cost. "The crop had been badly lodged and even after recovery, we cannot say that it would meet the expected yield target. The grain formation in the fallen crop surely gets affected and some of the ears fail to receive sunlight. I have noted it over the years that sometimes there is no grain formation in some of the ears which are buried below in lodged patches," said Sukhmander Singh, a farmer from village Bir Sikhan Wala of Faridkot. "Besides, the fallen crop is more prone to insect attack," he added.
As there is no deciding line on damage, the loss cannot be assessed. "As there is no visual loss, nothing can be said about the per acre loss of the crop. Farmers may term it good and hope for about 51 quintals per hectare which has been the average yield in Faridkot district.
Some could have expected much more at 60 quintal per hectare, but if it stands at around 50, one would feel satisfied," said Atma Singh Sidhu, retired chief agriculture officer.
"On March 15, there was a very heavy rainfall, about 96 mm in a single night and there was some damage to the crops by hailstorms. The loss by hailstorms is going to be assessed by a team on Friday.But, the crop, which was flattened earlier by winds and rain, has revived to some extent which, if weather remains clear in days to come, the yield would be good but the harvesting season would get delayed," said Amandeep Keshav, project director, agriculture technology management agency, Faridkot.